Saturday, December 06, 2008

The Inadequacy of Words

Lots of thoughts and feelings are churning around this week. I don't find writing on this blog particularly satisfying because there are so many restraints in writing publicly. It was a strange thing to see quotes from this blog in the National Post and other media. That reminded me to be prudent in what I write.

I came across a quote from a ficiton book that I'm reading (at my wife's recommendation):

Every time a writer tries to put some experience, memory, feeling or observation into words, even in his own native tongue, he's translating in a sense. He's changing the intangibles of life into printed matter.*

That's good. It exposes some of the limitations of blogging that I've been sensing, but haven't been able to articulate. I can't translate life into words in this blog, particularly not in the last several weeks.

I'm sure I come across differently here than I do in person. That's part of the reason I've been careful with giving interviews. I do like to think ahead and have the opportunity to edit before I publish something. I don't merely want to keep up appearances (enough people who know me in real life know that I don't have it all together), but I don't want to say anything here that could be hurtful to my family, church or community.

I'm thankful that at least with my sermons and Bible studies, I get to simply point to the Master, the Creator of words. The word of God is living and active. If I work at keeping my public teaching less about me and more about what God has said, the people in my church will be well served.

It is astonishing that God would condescend to speak to weak, fallen human beings using words.The Bible is supernatural. When we learn to read it "back-to-front" with Christ at the center, we can't help but be astonished at God's light.


For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end.
He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this. Isaiah 9:6-7

Now that is writing. Reading back from the unveiling of this Son in the New Testament, these verses are not only beautiful, but so important - life and death important.

This is the Christian's hope - the hope of the world - that God's Son, Jesus Christ, is the Good King in the absolute sense of those words. Salvation is of the Lord. When salvation is fully and finally revealed, all the clouds and hints and shadows of inadequate words that reflect our inadequate lives will be blown away and the light of His glory will shine forever. If we are in Christ by grace through faith, then we will reign with Him as adopted sons and co-heirs eternally.

*Jamie Langston Turner, A Garden to Keep, p. 251.


Anonymous said...


I appreciate your words and desire to speak carefully. Your posts have been a way for us to stay connected with you and your family the past couple of months and have given us the ability to pray for you in more tangible ways. This week I too was surprised to read direct quotes from your blog in an article on the internet - when your own posting was not even an hour old! There was a sense of invasion of your privacy and grief - while at the same time you have been given an opportunity to share the truth of the Bible so others can know Christ personally too.

In the days and weeks ahead we will continue to pray for you as a family, especially as you enter yet another phase of your "new normal". May God continue to give you the words and grace to speak his truth clearly.

Leanne M.

Anonymous said...

there are times when words and thoughts are hard to type on screen and to be careful of how we feel but the lord knows and always is there no matter what if it's public or not
may the lord be with you always

Anonymous said...

It takes an incredible amount of courage to do this. We cannot shrink back from the things that God presents to us. We must always ask ourselves repeatedly if it is for His honor and glory. If it is, no matter how painful or difficult, then proceed. He knows our hearts, and if our motives are pure we can move forward with peace and assurance. Be sure also that the Enemy is always at work to distort the truth, so there will also be resistance, false accusations, and we will be wounded by those hurtful words in the process. Our enemy desires to shut us up of course.
But ultimately, it isn't about us, it is about Him, and we are no better than our master. Not everyone will applaud and congratulate us. Some will prefer to disdain us. In your case, no matter how honorable your intentions are, which is to share the Gospel, some will use it for mere entertainment value,for consumption, and move on. Others will dispise the proclamation of the Gospel from this entirely. You know Jesus was also accused of being in cahoots with Satan for healing people. His motives were pure, but it mattered nothing to some. Some followed him for mere entertainment value as well. If Jesus endured this, and much, more and much worse, we can be strengthened knowing He can most certainly sympathize. But we still must continue to put one foot in front of the other. And have pity on those who are blind.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Jos.1:9

Unfortunatly, we are commanded no other options on this journey we are on. Keep fighting Terry. Keep fighting discouragement, fear, anger, frustration, exhaustion, uncertainty, etc. They are a few weapons of our enemy that he uses to render us impotent on our walk. Keep fighting.

Susanna said...

I would like to rncourage you. Since reading here I have been impressed by the facts that all your posts do point to Christ- as your peaching does. All I have read abut your daughter also points to her love of Him. I 'know ' another lady who has lots of restraints on what she can type- and her blog has been a great blessing to me as she has walked through many trials. Obviously as a minister of God's word you have extra restrints on you and I believe that in all you have written you have used caution and discretion- so please do not feel otherwise.

Paul Van Stralen said...

Hey Terry, I so appreciate your friendship. I agree words just can't express enough. Thank you for always, in everything, pointing to the Word. Have you listened to Alistair Begg's sermons on that passage from Isaiah? They're very, very good.
God bless,